The Times of India | PTI | Updated: Feb 5, 2017 |
NEW DELHI: The HRD ministry will bring in a “graded regulatory mechanism” as part of key reforms in the University Grants Commission (UGC) to usher in greater transparency, freedom and autonomy, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday. The HRD minister also announced that ‘SWAYAM’, an open web based platform from which 2000 courses will be run for students across the country, will be launched next month . Referring to the Union Budget 2017, Javadekar said that it reflects the government’s vision of raising quality in the education sector, which has got additional funds this time to the tune of Rs 6,000 crore. He said that as per the Right to Education Act, learning outcomes are being defined and will be part of the coming academic session.
Another initiative is an innovation fund of Rs 100 crore for schools which will be introduced in educationally backward districts, he said. He said a separate exam agency has also been announced which will conduct major exams, many of which are being conducted by an “overburdened” CBSE, he said. The CBSE’s main focus is to look after school education. Speaking about UGC reforms, Javadekar said that thrust is to give more autonomy to good institutes and “monitor mid-level and monitor more those in the lower rungs”. “Everybody would be incentivised to go upwards,” Javadekar told reporters here. Referring to the IIM Bill, which is expected to come up in the current Parliament session, Javadekar said it indicates the shape of things to come. He referred to SWAYAM which is a MOOCs platform and said that it would become what ATM is for money. “It will be any time learning and anywhere learning,” he said while thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the budget provisions. – Courtesy
Bye bye to UGC’s autonomy : The New Indian Express : Sanjay Singh | Published: 05th February 2017
NEW DELHI: The autonomy war continues on the battleground of Indian education. The truculent University Grants Commission (UGC) is the new casualty. The Union HRD Ministry is setting up a new funding agency for universities and higher educational institutions, Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA), for the purpose and relegating UGC to just an academic regulatory body. Top government sources told The Sunday Standard that the modalities of the HEFA’s composition and functioning are being worked out and a committee has been constituted. The process of pruning UGC’s financial powers were apparent last year when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced HEFA in his last budget. However, amendments were needed in the UGC Act to trim its powers. Officials said the issue has now been resolved in this budget, after reforms were announced in the functioning of UGC to give more autonomy to higher educational institutions. The move has now paved the way for the government to bring in a change in the UGC Act. The UGC will lose the power to fund institutions and its role would be restricted to purely look at academic issues as a regulatory body, said sources. Some of the powers may go to the National Assessment and Accreditation Council. However, a UGC official raised a question mark on the government’s intentions
“By having adequate representation of Union HRD Ministry in HEFA, the government will control funding institutions. As such the governments claim for autonomy is a misnomer, an eye wash,” said a central university official who did not wished to be named. The Modi government is unsatisfied with the functioning of UGC and its mishandling of issues related to deemed universities. The moves assume significance as UGC has run into a legal tangle with some reputed universities such as the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai among others over their off-campus centres and expansion plans. Additionally UGC is yet to put in place a mechanism on selecting experts. Officials believe there is always a possibility for misrepresentation or wrongdoing. The UGC’s latest budget allocation has gone up to Rs 4,692 crore from Rs 4,492 last year—an increase of 4.45 per cent and an additional Rs 250 crore from Rs 2,000 crore of HEFA’s corpus. An official explained that as soon as the funding power is switched from UGC to HEFA, the agency corpus will be Rs 6,942 crore—a significant 55 per cent hike in funding for higher educational institutions. – Courtesy